Assembly Minority Whip Frank Blee told colleagues today that he would not switch parties and would not seek re-election to an eighth term this year. He made that announcement in a private session of the Assembly Republican Caucus.
Over the last week, Blee had met with several top Democratic leaders to discuss a possible change of parties. He has grown angry with the GOP since losing a Special Election Convention for an open State Senate seat last month. James "Sonny" McCullough, the Mayor of Egg Harbor Township, won 61% of the vote against Blee.
Atlantic insiders say that Blee was a casualty of several local Republican leaders who wanted to punish outgoing State Sen. Bill Gormley. Gormley actively campaigned for Blee, while his rival, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, pushed for McCullough.
According to some reports, Blee had asked Atlantic County Democrats for their Senate nomination, so that he could run against McCullough in the General Election. But Democrats would not consider backing off their support of Assemblyman James Whelan for Senate, and at best offered Blee a chance to run for re-election to the Assembly as a Democrat.
"Iput no stockin these rumors that are floating around because the Frank Blee that Iknow and respectis a man of loyalty and integrity and a party switch right now would justlook like sour grapes," Atlantic County GOP Chairman Keith Davis told PoliticsNJ.com. "It's not him."
Blee has not commented on reports of a party switch.